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02 June 2021

The NDIS and employment: Creating new opportunities.

It’s no secret that it can be hard for people with a disability to get a job. But across the country, there are many government, private and not-for-profit organisations trying to change that.

Initiatives such as the Inclusive Employment Movement which was co-founded by Leap in! and Comcare’s Collaborative Partnership are breaking down barriers and creating more inclusive workplaces. We’ve even created an ebook on inclusive employment, which you can download from our resources section.

One of the goals of the NDIS is to help participants achieve their work-related goals. Today, we are exploring some of the NDIS strategies and helpful resources that you can access if one of your NDIS goals is work-related.


NDIS employment snapshot.

The NDIS reports that the participation of participants in the work is “stable”. Even for people who have been in the scheme for at least two years, there have only been slight increases in employment over the past few years.

  • Around 22.8% of participants currently have a job
  • The NDIS has set a target of 30% of participants in paid work by 2023
  • From January to March 2021, there has been a 2% decrease in employment for participants aged 25+ (from 25% to 23%)
  • From January to March 2021, there has been a 1% increase in employment for participants aged 15+ (from 22% to 23%). [1]


The NDIS Participant Employment Strategy.

The Participant Employment Strategy is a document that sets out the NDIS goals related to employment and how it will achieve them. It was released in 2019.

The strategy covers 5 areas:

  1. Increasing participant aspiration and employment goals in NDIS Plans
  2. Increasing choice and control over pathways to employment
  3. Increasing market innovations that improve the path to paid work
  4. Improving the confidence of employers to employ NDIS participants
  5. Leading by example as an employer.


Looking back on 2020.

While there is a long way to go, the NDIS reports achieving:

  • More conversations with participants about employment supports
  • Supporting more participants to create work-related goals
  • Creating a system for planning conversations with the 7200 participants who are leaving school in 2021
  • Producing a range of new resources (see below for links)
  • Conducting research on pathways to employment for participants with intellectual disability, autism and psychosocial disability
  • Collaborating with Swinburne University of Technology to develop business ideas to overcome barriers to employment for participants.


Looking forward – 2021 and beyond.

The NDIS has had to update the Participant Employment Strategy to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and still achieve the goal of supporting 30% of participants to be employed by 2023.

Below is a summary of the six priority areas for the next 18 months.

1. Stimulating innovative, evidence-based participant-centric employment supports.

This includes working with providers to support participants in a range of employment settings.

2. Strengthening the link between education and employment outcomes for young people.

Capacity building supports for young people leaving school will be reviewed. More opportunities for work experience will be developed.

3. Building new partnerships that lead to jobs.

The NDIS will partner with national employers to build their capability to employ participants.

4. Promoting disability employment through use of the Agency’s purchasing power.

This includes introducing participant employment targets with contracted partners.

5. Equipping participants to navigate a complex disability employment system.

New resources will be developed to support participants on their pathway to employment.

6. Ensuring the right employment goals and supports are in participant plans.

LAC and planners will get training on how to help participants use employment supports. Participants will have access to more information about using their NDIS funding flexibly to pursue work goals.


Handy resources.

Disability and employment: What you need to know
NDIS supports in employment
School leaver employment supports
Work and study supports
How to decide if work and study supports are reasonable and necessary
Supports if you already have a job


Want to find out more about the Inclusive Employment Movement? 

Find out more about how to join the Inclusive Employment Movement on our website.

If you’d like to get in touch with our experienced team, call 1300 05 78 78, email or use the live chat feature on our website.


Further reading

Best of our free resources: Leap in! ebooks, guides and more.

Disability and employment: What you need to know.

NDIS employment supports: All you need to know.



[1] NDIS Quarterly Report to disability ministers, 31 March 2021, p.36.